Al Qasr brunch

Upscale banquet on a huge scale - it would take days to taste every dish


What’s on offer?
It’s no surprise that Al Qasr won Time Out’s Best Brunch award in 2009 and was highly commended in 2010. It offers such an impressive and upscale banquet of sheer size that it would be impossible to get through in three days, let alone three hours. It's a great way to sample the many varieties of flavours on offer at the array of international restaurants. From Spanish and Mexican to sushi on ice sculptures, Thai, Arabic and eggs Benedict, there is something to suit all palates. At MJ’s Steakhouse, you can walk around the live cooking stations, select your meat and then watch the chefs as they sizzle it on the grill, having as much control over your steak as you like. The hotel doesn’t scrimp on desserts either. From the milk and white chocolate fountain with strawberries, pineapples and melons on sticks, to decadent cakes, macaroons and delicate sponges, you’re in for a real treat. Drinks stations also line the walkways, so you can pick up a mixed drink on the way back to your seat without having to ask for re-fills. But that’s not to say staff aren’t attentive, as they’ll top you up whenever your glass looks low.

The venue?
Al Qasr, meaning ‘The Palace’ in Arabic, is everything you’d expect from a venue of this name. It's grand, regal and majestic, with impressive views of Madinat's waterways. The main dining room is a huge open plan space spread out across the lower ground floor. Brunchers also sit in some of the hotel’s 16 restaurants. Spanish restaurant Al Hambra's décor has deep, moody red tones and is low lit, creating more atmosphere than the sprawling central dining room, which feels a little like dining in a large hotel lobby. If the weather permits, head outdoors to the terrace for those views.

What sort of crowd turn out?
This is a brunch for tourists, extra special occasions (there were a few birthdays when we visited) and moneyed expats. It offers the quintessential Dubai brunch experience that should not be missed.

Room for improvement?
Maybe because of the sheer scale of the buffet and the food available, some attention to taste was lacking. But where some dishes were poor, others more than made up for it. And you couldn’t go wrong with any of the desserts.

Standout dish?
By far the oriental and Thai dishes. These aren’t the easiest flavours to create, and there was certainly no going wrong with these.

In one sentence...
Worth the price, but be sure to try a very little bit of every dish to truly experience the brunch.
Dhs425 including soft beverages, Dhs525 including bubbly, Dhs250 (children aged four-12); free (children under four). 12.30pm-3.30pm, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).

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